Monday, September 28, 2015

Remembering Our Lady of Sorrows!

One thing I love about homeschooling is that I can focus our learning around feast days of our church!  Well September is a wonderful month to celebrate our Blessed Mother as her birthday and Our Lady of Sorrow's feast day occurs.

This September my son and I spent some time learning about Our Lady of Sorrows to honor our Blessed Mother on her feast day of September 15th!

This year was the first year I introduced my five year old to Our Lady of Sorrows for the first time.  As we have learned about our Lord's sacrifice over this past Lenten and Easter season, I felt my son was ready to begin understanding how our Blessed Mother had also suffered with her son!

I simply introduced my son to Mary's seven sorrows.  We talked about each one and then we made a heart shaped brownie and, using toothpicks and paper, we "pierced" the heart with our Lady's seven sorrows.

If you would like a copy of these swords with Mary's Seven Sorrows on them you can grab them here for free!

Remember there is a beautiful devotion to Mary's Seven Sorrows.  This link provides you with a beautiful prayer you can say with your family to honor our Blessed Mother every September!

Blessings to you and yours,

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Journey Veiling at Mass: Part 3!

Note: The Catholic Church's stance on head covering is that it is not required but is permitted as a personal devotion.  This series of posts is not suggesting it is required in any way and is only my personal experience with head covering.

You can read Part 1 and Part 2 of my veiling journey.

The Art of Veiling

So here I am, several months later, with my rush ordered infinity veil and the veil I won from the contest, both of which I have used regularly.

I ordered the infinity veil, and now it was time to wear it.  I was very very nervous the first day I wore a veil to Mass, but I have to admit it was a weekday Mass so it seemed a bit less stressful for some reason.  I don't know why because having LESS people at Mass seems like I would have stood out more than having more people at Mass.  I suppose I felt that the fewer people were there, the fewer opportunities there would be for me to be judged by others.  Can you tell I was EXTREMELY NERVOUS?!!!!

With butterflies in my stomach, shaking hands, and weak knees, I entered the church with my boys, slipped into one of the back pews, hidden, safe.  Let me tell you, when you have a 5 year old and a 9 month old, there is no place you can hide in church where their little voices will not result in looks of other parishioners.  So safety was out.  Now it was just time to "get through this Mass".  At least that is what I thought.  Then something pretty awesome happened.

My Zen Place

It was only through the grace of the Holy Spirit, but as Mass began I become so calm, serene.  It was as if the veil was blocking all the distractions from ME!  I didn't seem to be a distraction to others and they were no longer a distraction for me.  I could focus on the Mass with as much focus as a mother of two busy boys can.  Truly, it was a beautiful experience for me!  During the Eucharistic prayer, I just felt like I was making my Guardian Angel so proud because here I am, worshiping with "the angels" (as St. Paul tells us), while honoring my Lord with my head covered.  Here I am for the first time, maybe the first time ever, truly keeping in mind, that I am IN the PRESENCE of Jesus' body, blood, soul and divinity!  How unworthy I am to receive this gift, but oh how beautiful a gift it is!

I had found my place of zen, my place with my Lord and I could not go back.

Tears of Joy

So it's been several months of veil wearing for all Masses I have attended (Sundays and weekdays) and I don't feel out of place one bit. In fact, the more I attend Mass, the more I know I am doing what the Lord is calling me to do.  I am not saying this is for everyone or that everyone should follow suit.  This is what He is asking of me and I am so very happy to oblige.

In fact, it seems the more I "veil up" (ha!), the more I seem to get out of the Eucharistic prayer, the more I feel my Lord and unfortunately (or maybe fortunately I'm not sure), the more emotional I become in the presence of the body of Christ.  I find myself tearing up and even crying many times in Mass after I have received Christ for no real reason, other than I am just so very grateful for this wonderful blessed gift, this perpetual sacrifice.  Maybe it is the Holy Spirit touching my heart or it's just the way my brain is able to understand the Eucharist at this time, but it truly is a blessing and I have only my veil and my Lord to thank!

So that has been my journey of veiling these past few months.  Do you veil?  Have you thought of doing it?  What's been your experience?

Blessings to you and yours.  And if you wear a head covering in the presence of our Lord, let me just say "Veil on, Ladies!  Veil on!",

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Journey Veiling at Mass: Part 2!

Note: The Catholic Church's stance on head covering is that it is not required but is permitted as a personal devotion.  This series of posts is not suggesting it is required in any way and is only my personal experience with head covering.

Read part 1 here.

God Brought Me To It

What was I to do with this old tradition of head covering in Mass?  Where did it come from?  Why did women originally veil or cover their heads?  Why did we stop?  Why had I not been taught about this tradition?   I know the Catholic Church does not create random traditions, so I knew there had to be a theological explanation for it.  I didn't know what it was, or why I, for some inexplicable reason, HAD to find out.

After attending Mass for a few months, I began to really contemplate veiling.  Why couldn't I get this interest out of my mind?  Was the Lord calling me to find out more about this theology and possibly requesting this of me?

I know the power of prayer and I know the Lord will make His wants known to me as soon as I open myself up to it.  And so, after a few more months, I, bravely (yes I use the word bravely, b/c I think anytime we open ourselves to God's will we become the bravest versions of ourselves), said "Lord, if you want me to veil, you are going to have to bring me to it."  Oh be careful what you ask for my friends!

The Email

The VERY NEXT DAY after I prayed that prayer, in my inbox sat an email from a fellow parishioner offering to give away her extra veils to anyone who was interested.  Talk about an answer to prayer, huh?!

Unfortunately, I responded too late and all veils were already given out but the result yielded a wonderful dialogue about veiling and I was referred to a number of resources including this book to learn more about the theology behind this tradition.  In my search for more information, I also stumbled across this fantastic blog post regarding the scriptural basis for head covering.  For the first time in my life, I FINALLY understood what St. Paul was saying to the Corinthians about this and it made SO MUCH SENSE!  So, that evening, I rush ordered myself this veil in a lilac color.

The Giveaway

Around this same time but before I ordered my own veil, I had entered a giveaway from a company who made chapel veils.  They were offering 10 people a chance to win their own veil.  Of course there were over 1000 entries but I entered anyway.  I thought, why not?  If God wants me to veil, well He will bring me to it.

Wouldn't you know, I was one of the 10 lucky winners?  YEP so in the span of TWO DAYS of my prayer, I missed out on a free offer of veils from another parishioner just to randomly win a brand new veil of my choice from this company (which is wonderful by the way).

Waving the White Flag

I could deny it no longer, the Lord was in fact bringing me to head covering and it was my turn to wave the white flag and surrender to His will.

Oh how nervous I was!  How will I look?  What will people think?  People will think that I think "I'm so holy" and that's so far from the truth.  I will be completely humiliated.  Then I heard these words (in my head of course) "Maria, can you not endure some humiliation for me?".  Touche' God, touche'!  This girl is going to "veil up"!

Check out my veiling experiences in Part 3 of this series.

Blessings to you and yours,

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

My Journey Veiling at Mass: Part 1!

Note: The Catholic Church's stance on head covering is that it is not required but is permitted as a personal devotion.  This series of posts is not suggesting it is required in any way and is only my personal experience with head covering.

If you read my book review on The Chapel Veil: Symbol of the Spouse of Christ than you have already heard a little bit about my journey to veil at Mass.  Here is the unabridged version.

Introduction to Veiling

I have a few scattered memories of my grandmother placing a scarf over her head when she entered a Catholic church many many years ago.  I was very small and did not seem to understand why she did this nor did it occur to me to ask.  Therefore, I suppose it makes sense that I didn't seem to truly notice when or why she stopped donning her head with a cover at Mass.  Yet, for some reason, it ceased.

In that time since, I have been inundated with the classic falsehood that "the church" no longer requires veiling or head coverings because they no longer see women as submissive to men.  Therefore, when I went to Catholic elementary school, I was not introduced to this tradition.  As I grew up, I never really thought about veiling.  I saw pictures and video of women from other countries covering their heads when participating in Papal Masses but never thought about why they continued to do so, or why we in America did not.

It wasn't until I moved to the parish I am now currently a parishioner, did I come face to face with veiling once again.  I noticed it immediately when I walked into this church our first Sunday there.  One lonely woman, with a veil, seated up front.  The next week I saw two women with veils, then three, scattered around the church.  My, aren't we "holier than thou"! How they must think themselves so very "holy" compared to the rest of us women who attend with bare heads (cue eye roll)!  Yet I was strangely drawn to them.

For reasons still unknown to me, and in which I chalk up to an interior calling of the Holy Spirit, I had to watch these women in church.  I couldn't take my eyes off of them.  They dressed modestly, mostly in skirts and dresses knee-length or longer.  They bowed or genuflected reverently prior to receiving the Blessed Eucharist and they seemed to be in their own little world, as if not distracted by all the sounds and sights I seemed to be during Mass.  What was it about these veils and why am I so drawn to them?  I had to ask myself.  Once I noticed these women, those scattered memories of my early childhood vaguely came back to me.

This was introduction to veiling as an adult.  Now what was I going to do with this...this veiling thing?

Next week I'll have Part 2 to my Veiling Journey!  :)

Blessings to you and yours,